Biden's transition moves ahead

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 5:00 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020
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2:25 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Arizona certifies Biden’s victory 

From CNN's Bob Ortega

Arizona certified its election results on Monday, awarding the state’s eleven electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden and clearing the way for Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a Democrat, to be sworn in this week. 

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, certified the election results Monday morning, saying the elections process was the most secure in recent history, “despite unfounded claims to the contrary.”

The state’s Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich along with Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, witnessed the certification, as required by state law. These three officials are Republicans. 

Ducey, who echoed Hobbs’ comments and praised the integrity of Arizona’s election system, also said he would sign official documentation today and have it hand-delivered to the secretary of the US Senate, so that Kelly, “Arizona’s newest senator can be sworn in as swiftly as possible.” 

Kelly, who defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally in a special election, will be sworn in at noon on Wednesday, according to a senior Democratic aide. That will reduce the current Republican advantage in the US Senate to 52-48. 

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports:

3:39 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Vice President-elect Harris is receiving her first Presidential Daily Briefing today

From CNN's Jasmine Wright 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media after visiting the Downtown Holiday Market, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Washington.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media after visiting the Downtown Holiday Market, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Washington. Andrew Harnik/AP

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is receiving her first Presidential Daily Briefing at the Department of Commerce today in Washington, DC, a source familiar with the situation tells CNN.

This is Harris’ first time receiving the PDB, as it is also known, as Vice President-elect. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Harris received twice-weekly intelligence briefings but those lacked the depth of details and information that the PDB has, CNN reported earlier this month. 

The PDB contains the daily collection of analysis and information that the intelligence community believes the President and his most senior national security staff need to start the day — it's been called the newspaper with the world's smallest circulation.

More on this: CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Alex Marquardt reported earlier today that President-elect Joe Biden will receive his intelligence briefing at his own house outside Wilmington, Delaware, a sign that his house has been retrofitted once again to receive classified information. Unlike Biden, Harris lives in a large apartment complex in DC.

12:23 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Trump's FCC chair will step down in January

From CNN's Brian Fung

Alex Wong/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The head of President Trump's Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that he intends to leave the agency at the end of Trump's term. 

Ajit Pai, the FCC chair, said he will step down from the agency on Jan. 20. He is the first Asian-American to lead the telecom regulator. 

In a statement, Pai praised the work of the FCC's staff during the pandemic, and said that after four years, America's communications networks are "faster, stronger and more widely deployed than ever before."

"Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety," Pai said. 

Why this matters: It is traditional for the FCC's chairman to step aside when a new presidential administration arrives in Washington. Pai's official announcement clears the way for President-elect Joe Biden to nominate his own chair to the independent agency. 

Under his tenure, the FCC completed several important auctions of wireless airwaves and loosened regulations on media ownership. But Pai was also criticized by consumer advocacy groups for rolling back the FCC's net neutrality rules for internet providers and for agreeing to move forward with Trump's request for unprecedented regulations that would apply to social media platforms.

12:20 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Biden is receiving the president's daily intelligence brief at his home near Wilmington today

From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Alex Marquardt

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President-elect Joe Biden is receiving his first intelligence briefing from his home outside Wilmington today, people familiar with the matter tell CNN.

This is the first sign we have that his house has been retrofitted — again — for classified briefings.

It’s the first time Biden is receiving the briefing, known as the PDB, in nearly four years. He routinely received the briefing as vice president.

The PDB contains the daily collection of analysis and information that the intelligence community believes the President and his most senior national security staff need to start the day — it's been called the newspaper with the world's smallest circulation.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will get the same briefing on Monday with Biden, the transition team said Wednesday, ending the strange situation where she, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had access to more classified intelligence than the President-elect. 

President Trump, who has refused to concede the election, relented only last week on his initial refusal to allow Biden access to the nation's most vital intelligence.

1:07 p.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Georgia's secretary of state says “dishonest actors” are misleading Trump on fraud claims

From CNN’s Jason Morris and Tori Apodaca

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta on November 30.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta on November 30. Brynn Anderson/AP

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that “the truth matters,” and pushed back against the “massive” spigot of election disinformation being spread by President Trump and Republicans. 

Taking aim at his fellow Republicans, Raffensperger said at a news conference at the Georgia Capitol that “massive amounts of misinformation” about the election were “being spread by dishonest actors.”

“There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation, and frankly they are misleading the President as well, apparently,” he said. 

Raffensperger also rebutted numerous lies that Trump has pushed about massive election fraud in Georgia and elsewhere, and said that the post-election audit and ongoing recount prove that the election was fair. 

“Once this recount is complete, everyone in Georgia will be able to have even more confidence in the results of our elections,” he said, adding that the recount is on track to finish by the Wednesday night deadline.

Raffensperger also said his office will continue to investigate any credible claims of illegal voting and any violations of state election law. 

According to Raffensperger, there are currently over 250 open cases of election irregularities still being investigated from 2020.  Nearly 5 million votes were cast statewide.

Remember: There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Georgia, which Biden won by more than 12,000 votes.

Separately, during the recount, a software problem slowed things down in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. Election officials said Monday that this was no proof of any improprieties and that the mishap with the Dominion Voting Systems software was caused by local officials who did not follow instructions.

The incident fueled conspiracy theories online because Trump himself and GOP lawyers have perpetuated false conspiracy theories that Dominion orchestrated a nationwide vote-rigging scheme to help Biden.

CNN's KYUNG LAH REPORTS:

11:15 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Yellen says she will work "towards rebuilding" the American Dream for all as Treasury Secretary

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright, Jeff Zeleny, Dan Merica and Gregory Krieg

Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, listens to a question during a news conference in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2017.
Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, listens to a question during a news conference in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2017. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Janet Yellen, who was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden this morning to become the Secretary of Treasury, just reacted on Twitter to the news.

“We face great challenges as a country right now. To recover, we must restore the American dream—a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children," Yellen tweeted.

"As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all," she continued.

If confirmed, the former chair of the Federal Reserve would be the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary.

Yellen will be tasked with helping lead Biden's economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the economy and led millions of Americans to lose their jobs.

She will also be asked to make good on the former vice president's campaign promise to narrow the economic disparities between the rich and middle class and poor Americans.

10:56 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Republican responsible for overseeing inauguration says he'd like to see Trump at the event

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Sen. Roy Blunt speaks during a hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2.
Sen. Roy Blunt speaks during a hearing in Washington, DC, on July 2. Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

When President Trump lost this year's election to Joe Biden, almost nobody around him said they could envision the losing incumbent attending his successor's inauguration.

The image remains implausible for a President who will likely never concede and said Sunday that nothing would convince him he lost.

Yet Republicans and aides to Trump are encouraging him to at least consider attending Biden's swearing-in, hoping his presence will both reflect well on his character and help preserve his future influence but also convince Americans the election was fair.

"I hope the President is there on Inaugural Day," Sen. Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican who is responsible for overseeing January's inauguration, told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Blunt, who declined to call Biden the president-elect, still said it was "likely" the former vice president would be sworn in on January 20. He said he was "continuing to work to see what we can do to have both the President there and have Vice President Biden there, likely sworn in on that day."

Like others around Trump who are worried his ever-devolving conspiracies about the election could damage both his own standing and the position of Republicans going forward, Blunt appealed to the prospect that Trump could retain more influence if he departs the White House with dignity.

"I think there's a big role for President Trump," Blunt said. "I hope he embraces that and looks at how you move to whatever comes next for him assuming that this election works out the way it appears it will."

Whether the outgoing president takes that advice remains unknown. Trump has performed none of the traditional steps of an outgoing commander-in-chief, including inviting Biden for a meeting in the Oval Office or even phoning him with any kind of conciliatory message.

Speaking in an interview on Sunday, Trump declined to offer a timeline for when he might ease up his losing battle to overturn the election results. And he admitted that even if Biden enters office, he will remain unconvinced he lost.

WATCH SEN. BLUNT SPEAK WITH CNN'S DANA BASH:

10:06 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Biden nominates former Fed Chair Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright

Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, speaks during a briefing in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2017.
Janet Yellen, then chair of the Federal Reserve, speaks during a briefing in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2017. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has just announced the key members of his economic team, rounding out another diverse group of nominees.

Janet Yellen will become the Secretary of Treasury, if confirmed, and Neera Tanden would become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a release from the transition. Yellen, if confirmed, would be the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary.

They also announced Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo as deputy secretary of the Treasury, Cecilia Rouse for Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey to become members of the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first Black deputy Treasury Secretary.

This release confirms CNN's reporting that Biden would tap Yellen for the Treasury position and Adeyemo for the number two spot.

“This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy,” a statement from Biden included in the release said.
9:53 a.m. ET, November 30, 2020

Sen. Mark Kelly will be sworn in this week, bringing the GOP majority down to 52-48

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

Mark Kelly speaks to supporters on November 3 in Tucson, Arizona.
Mark Kelly speaks to supporters on November 3 in Tucson, Arizona. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a Democrat from Arizona, will be sworn in as a US senator at noon ET on Wednesday, according to a senior Democratic aide. 

Kelly defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona's special election.